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the Society be answered. It was there. Testaments, to be distributed by himself fore resolved that the funds in possession in the West Indies, among the people should immediately be put into active of color, or others at his discretion. operation ; except that it was adopted as Twenty-five New Testaments have also a principle, that the money arising from been sent to the Rev. John H. Rice, to life subscriptions and donations should be distributed among the slaves who can form a permanent fund, the interest of read, in Virginia. which only should be employed; which The public and charitable institutions arrangement, it was supposed, would in this city have received a special regard better meet the views of the contributors, from the Managers in the distribution of and better promote the objects of the Bibles. Society, than if the whole should be ex. The Managers, conceiving that it pended at once.
would be of importance to obtain a charA purchase was therefore made of 300 ter, called a meeting of the Society, to English Bibles, 300 English New Testa consider and determine upon the proments, and 300 German New Testa priety of petitioning the legislature of this ments; and some general principles to state then in session, for an act of incorregulate the distribution of the books, poration. At this meeting, a memorial, and guard against impositions, were together with the draft of a bill, were agreed upon. This stock, however, was submitted to the Society, which, being soon exhausted; thedemand proving upon considered and approved, were forwardexperiment to be much greater than was ed to the legislature: but the expected expected. The Managers, therefore, or success did not attend the arplication. dered another purchase to be made, of The failure, it is believed, was chiefly 1000 English Bibles, and 200 German owing to the application having been New Testaments, and of the books pur made at so late a period of the session of chased, a small proportion only remain at the legislature, that there was not time this time in the hands of the Librarian. to pay suitable attention to the subject.
As it was not practicable to obtain a It will now belong to the Society to discheap edition of the German Bible in pose of this business in that way, which to this country, the Managers directed that them may seem best. 300 copies and as many of the New Tes- As this society owed its existence, in tament, should be imported from Ger a great measure, to the noble example af. many, as soon as intercourse with Europe forded by the British and Foreign Bible should be again opened. They also di Society, established at London ; and as rected that 100 French, 100 Welch, and intimation had been given by a respecta50 Gaelic Bibles, together with 50 En. - ble member of that society, that a handglish New Testaments of a large type, some donation would be granted to the should be imported from London, as soon first society of a similar kind established as practicable. All the above mentioned in the United States; it was one of the books have been sent for, and may now first acts of this society, after its organibe expected in a short time.
zation, to request their treasurer to give The distribution of Bibles, which has information, through his correspondent taken place, has been chiefly confined to in London, of the formation of a Bible this city and its vicinity, but good oppor Society, in this city ; and to transmit a tunities of supplying the destitute at a copy of its constitution, and solicit the distance, have not been neglected.
patronage and support of the Bible Soci. At the request of a missionary of the ety in London. This was done. And it United Brethren, 75 Bibles and 25 New will afford pleasure to the members of the Testaments have been sent to the Mus. society to be informed, that the treasurkingum, to be distributed among the In er's communication produced a very dians of two christian congregations, and agreeable impression on the minds of the among the poor white inhabitants. One whole committee of the British and Forhundred Bibles have been committed to eign Bible Society. Without hesitation or Mr. Thomas Haskins, a member of the delay, they opened their arms to emSociety, to be distributed “by means of brace our infant institution, with truly confidential friends” in the destitute parts fraternal affection. Instead of one hunof Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, dred pounds, which this Society had and New Jersey. One hundred Bibles been encouraged to hope for, by a unanhave likewise been committed to captain imous vote of the committee, two hunBenjamin Wickes, to be carried to Can- dred pounds sterling were given in aid ton, and distributed among the sailors, of our funds; And so strong was the tide and others, who can read English in that of their generous affection towards this port, by himself, and the Rev. Mr. Mor. Society, that a mueh larger sum would rison, a missionary, resident in that place. have been voted for its use, had they not Mr. Markoe, one of the managers, has supposed that ourinstitution was limited in received 50 Bibles, and as many New its operation to the state of Pennsylvania,
They express an anxious wish that our plan should be enlarged, so as to compreSend the whole union, in one society. But the managers are of opinion, that when the address of the society shall reach them, together with the explanations which have been directed to be made, they will be convinced that the plan which has been adopted is the most eligible for this country. However, the managers believe, that if no similar societies should be formed in any part of this country, then it will be the duty of the society, to extend its arms from Maine toGeorgia, and from the Adantic to the Mississippi.
The managers having now had some apportunity of testing the importance and utility of the plan of the Bible Society, by actual experiment, beg leave to make a few observations on the subject in the conclusion of this report.
The necessity for such an institution has appeared much more evidently to the managers, since, in the course of their duty, they have been led to make particular inquiries into the condition of the poorer class of people in this city, than it ever did before. The deficiency of Bi. bles has been found to be much greater than was expected; and it is believed to be as great in many other places. The number of families and individuals, who are destitute of a copy of the Scriptures is so great, that the whole of the funds in the possession of the society,could be profitably expended in supplying the wants of this city alone: and the opportunities of distributing them in other places are so numerous, that if their funds were tenfold as great as they are, they would still be inadequate to satisfy the demand.
That the institution will be useful, and has already been useful, can be doubted by no one, who values the word of God. Some hundreds of families are now in possession of a Bible, by means of the society, which never had one before. And it deserves to be mentioned, that the books have commonly been received, with emotion, and strong indications of gratitude: and that the application for them is often earnest and pressing. This alone, it is presumed, will be con. sidered by every contributor, as a rich remuneration, for all the expense and labour, to which he may have subjected "himself in support of the institution.
But besides the good resulting from the promotion of the chief and direct object of the society, the managers are of opinion, that very important and desirable effects will be indirectly produced by this association.
The cordiality and harmony with which christians of so many denominations have united, in prosecuting this im. portant object, cannot fail of being attended with some good effect on all con
cerned. It is an approximation to that unity andbrotherly love among christians, which all good men so ardently desire. At least, it will have a tendency to remove prejudices by promoting mutual acquaintance between the members of diff. erent religious communities.
The managers do, moreover, believe, that the zeal discovered, and efforts made by so many persons in this city, of different conditions and professions, to furnish the poor with Bibles gratuitously, will have a happy tendency to induce many to appreciate the sacred Scriptures more highly than they have been wont to do; and may dispose those who possess Bibles, but have suffered them to lie neglected in their houses, to peruse them with serious attention.
On the whole, the managers feel it to be a duty, to express their gratitude to the Author of every good gift, for the institution of Bible Societies ; and particularly, for the degree of favor which He hath been pleased to manifest to this in stitution. At the same time, they congratulate the society on the pleasing prospects of success, which are open before them. This continent presents an extensive field for the labors of such societies ; which, under diligent cultivation, and the blessing of heaven, may be expected to yield a copious harvest.
In the present convulsed state of the European continent, perhaps there is no spot upon earth, from which the light of divine truth might be sent forth more successfully, to various and distant parts of the benighted world, than from this city. The institution of a bible society in this place, therefore, must be considered an auspicious event. And the managers do not think that their hopes are too sanguine, when they persuade themselves, that at no very distant period, this society will be found in the foremost rank among those institutions, which piety or humanity has erected for the relief of the indigent, on this continent. And they conclude this report, by declaring it to be not only the object of their prayers, but their hopes, that before the present generation shall have passed away, the holy scriptures will be read by all the princi. pal nations under heaven : and thus the way be opened for the fulfilment of the prediction of the prophet, The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
An appendix to this report contains the interesting correspondence between R. Ralston, Esq. and the British and Foreign Bible Society, which we have already published: also, a list of 295 subscibers at 85 a year, among whom, are 12 life subscriptions of 50dols: Also the treasurer's account, from which it appears, that his receipts amount to $2715, exclusive of the
2001. sterling presented by the Brit catechetical instruction of our beloved ish and Foreign Bible Society. youth, have doubtless contributed in STATE OF RELIGION.
a great degree, to excite, as well as A Narrative of the State of Religion, to satisfy, this desire. We are hapuithin the bounds of the general as- py to state that catechetical instrucsembly of the Presbyterian Church, tion has been attended to during the and in the states of Connecticut and last year, with perhaps greater assiVermont, during the time intervening duity, than has ever been witnessed between May 1808 and May 1809. amongst us ; and we are persuaded
The general assembly once more that its results will be highly favoraapproach the churches under their ble to the dearest interests of the care, that they may lay before them church of God in our country. Deepa condensed narrative of the state of ly impressed with a conviction, that religion within their bounds.
holiness becometh his house for ever, The dealings of God with us, breth- the churches of Christ have turned ren, during the past year, call for re. their attention, with increasing care, newed emotions of wonder, love, and to the support of a wise and salutary praise. He has not left himself with discipline. Societies for diffusing out a witness amongst us ; the east, evangelical truth have been organizthe west, the north, and the south ed, and are now in operation; Bibles can testify; for in them all, his stately and small religious tracts have been footsteps may be seen. In answer to extensively distributed. Praying So. the prayers of his people, he has cieties, formerly established, have come down like dew upon the mown been maintained, whilst many new grass, and like showers that water ones have been added. These inthe earth; and we are happy to state stitutions, by calling into exercise that his glory is yet passing before the latent gifts and graces of the peo. us, and that his power and grace are ple of God, in an essential part of his still displayed in the conviction and worship, as well as in promoting zeal conversion of sinners, as well as in and brotherly love, have served as building up his people in their most nurseries of the church, and have holy faith. These are the great out. produced, and are producing, almost lines of our situation, to the more incredible effects upon the moral and particular description of which we religious state of the community. now call your attention.
The presbytery of Long Island has It is with peculiar pleasure, then, experienced a very general revival that we state, that peace and harmo- from the presence of the Lord. The ny, so ornamental arid necessary to presbyteries of Albany and Hudson, the christian church, have prevailed in some of their congregations, have in the past year, with but few excep. been visited with divine influence tions, ihroughout our bounds ; that from on high; whilst a large district the worship of God has been generally of East Jersey, as well as its extreme and respectfully attended in our in the west, has known, or is learnchurches ; that the distinguishing ing to know, the almighty power of doctrines of grace have been well re. God. Acknowledged infidels, and ceived,and in manyinstances have been practical unbelievers, who so lately attended with great and visible suc. eyed the cross with malignity, and cess. Although from the great ex- its adherents with contempt, are now tent of late revivals, and the numbers seen, in inconsiderable numbers. received into ourchurches, there was clothed, and in their right minds, at reason to fear that many tares were the feet of Jesus ; whilst the poor, interspersed with the harvest, yet we dissipated prodigal, who so lately are happy to state that instances of was a burthen to himself and to the apostasy have seldom occurred. world, is seen returning to his fath
The leading features that have er's house, or already encircled in his characterized our churches during father's arms. Those parts of the the last year, have, we apprehend, church, which were favored with re. been a growing thirst for divine vivals in former years, appear to be knowledge, and an increased attach. securing the advantages they have ment to the distinguishing doctrines gained, and to be gathering in the of grace. Family visitation and the gleanings of the vintage; whilst bod
ily agitations, where they have ap- they cannot do justice to their own peared, have almost wholly subsided, feelings on this occasion, or to the and have given place to calm inquiry cause of Christ, without noticing in into the great and leading doctrines terms of higb disapprobation so ruinof the gospel.
ous a departure from duty; they hold The assembly have observed with out at the same time the hand of conpleasure, that the various missions ciliation to their erring brethren, and under their direction have been pros invite a speedy return to the good orecuted with exemplary diligence and der and discipline of our church, fidelity, and with a measure of suc. In addition to the above, the assemcess, calculated to rejoice the hearts bly have heard with pain of the prevof those, who have contributed alence, in some parts of their bounds, their worldly substance to the sup- of a form of religion without its pow. port of this great object, and to en. er, as well as of vice and immorality. säge them to a continuance of their Lukewarmness,detested by the Head liberality. Through the instrumen of the church ; intemperance, ingulftality of these missions, not only a ing every social and domestic virtue ; large population of our own citizens, an awful profanation of the sabbath ; who would otherwise remain almost sports and unlawful games ; like so wholly destitute of the gospel, have many ensigns of death, have appeared, its doctrines and ordinances dispens. assailing the kingdom of Christ, and ed among them ; but several Indian strengthening the empire of his foes. tribes have the invaluable blessings Whilst we are undoubtedly called to of civilization and the Christian relig- mourn over these evils, we are equalion brought within their reach ; and ly called to counteract them ; "the the unhappy children of Africa weapons of our warfare are not carare also greeted with those glad tid. nal, but mighty through God, and ings of salvation to which, in a Chris- shall finally prevail.” “ For Zion's tian country, they have a peculiar sake, therefore, will we not hold our
peace, and for Jerusalem's sake we But whilst events of a prosperous will not rest, until the righteousness nature are recounted with pleasure, thereof go forth as brightness, and it is the duty of this assembly to in the salvation thereof as a lamp that form the churches, thatcircumstances burneth." have occurred of an opposite de. From the accounts received from scription, and such as ought to be our sister churches of Connecticut considered as highly calamitous and and Vermont, it appears that the distressing. They have learned with great head of the church bas maniregret, that, whilst several parts of fested toward thein, during the last our country have recently been sup. year, the most signal interpositions plied with a gospel ministry and the of divine love and mercy. Yale Col. regular administration of ordinances, lege has been visited, and a number others in these respects are in an of her sons have been hopefully gathexceedingly destitute situation. "The ered into the bosom of the church. harvest truly is great, but the labor. Many towns and villages, in both of Ts are few ; pray ye, brethren, the these states, have felt in a very unLord of the harvest that he would common degree, the power of sovesend forth laborers into his harvest.” reign grace; and accessions to their in a portion of country of some ex. communion have been exceedingly tent, embraced within the bounds of numerous. Infidelity is confounded, me synod of Kentucky, we are sorry or retires from the public eye. Charto learn that a spirit of fanaticism, acters distinguished by talents, learnpropagating the most palpable errors, ing, morals, and property, have been as well as insubordination to the con- led publicly to profess themselves the suituted authorities of our church, disciples of our Lord. A knowledge bas greatly prevailed. In conse- of the Holy Scriptures is diffusing itquence of this, some of our congre- self far and wide. We are also insations have been torn by intestine formed, that distinguished revivals divisions, and are yet bleeding at eve- of religion have existed in several y port. The assembly conceive that parts of Massachusetts, and that
hopeful appearances have also begun unerring and authoritative guide of in New Hampshire and in the dis- life, with the most powerful motives trict of Maine.
to virtue and holiness, and with the On a review of the whole informa. only unfailing support and solace in tion we have received, the assembly affliction take their stand at the foot of the If we consider that the Bible views cross, and rejoice in the wonders of and addresses man as an immortal redeeming love.
being, and is designed to secure his If the state of religion in the eternal felicity, we shall see, that in churches under their care had even distributing it, we exert ourselves to been generally dark and unpromising, promote an infinite good; and will though they might mourn over the Christian benevolence be indifferent, ingratitude of man, they could not when such an object is proposed ? cease to confide in the faithfulness It is the influence of the Bible not of God. But in justly deserved only to fit men for a future life, but wrath, our God has remembered to promote the order, tranquillity, and mercy ; once more he has given us happiness of the present. In distrib. abundant cause to glory in his name, uting the pure and benevolent system and to rejoice with trembling. of Jesus Christ, we adopt one of the
We have only to add our ardent best methods to refine the temper and prayer, that the angel flying through manners of men, to restrain unjust the midst of heaven, having the ever. practices and licentious desires, to lasting gospel to preach to every kin. render families peaceful and affectiondred and tongue, may soon reach the ate, and to improve every relation of utmost bounds of his destination ; the social state. that every obstacle that might im. It is interesting to recollect the pede his flight, or stay his progress, exertions and sacrifices made by the may be speedily removed, and that author of our faith, by his chosen the knowledge of Christ may soon apostles, and by Christians of every cover the earth, as the waters fill the age, for the purpose of extending sea. “Come quickly; Amen. Even through the earth, and of transmit. so, come Lord Jesus."
ting to all generations, the truth con. Certified by
tained in the Bible. This truth has JACOB'J. JANEWAY, been sealed by the most precious Stated Clerk. blood ; and shall not we count it an
honor and privilege to be associated ADDRESS TO THE PUBLIC. with Jesus Christ and his most faithMASSACHUSETTS BIBLE SOCIETY. ful servants, in communicating this
The attention of the Christian invaluable blessing to mankind? public is requested to a very impor
It becomes Christians to consider, tant object. Within a few years,
that their master was very mindful several "societies have been institut. of the poor, and represented his ed in Europe and America, for dis. gospel as peculiarly designed for that tributing the Holy Scriptures. It is class of society. Its great truths are proposed that an Association be form. level to their capacities; and its ed in this state for this Christian and precepts and promises are peculiarly benevolent design.
suited to impart that support and It is difficult to conceive an object consolation, and to form that pawhich promises greater benefit, or tience, resignation, uprightness, and has a stronger claim on the support
freedom from envy, which are so of Christians.
necessary in a state of poverty. Is The book to be distributed is uni. there not, then, the strongest obliga. versally acknowledged to be the only tion to circulate the Bible, as widely pure source of religious truth, the as possible among the poor? only perfect rule of faith and practice. It is a distinguishing recommenIn distributing it, we furnish men dation of this charity, that when we with the most interesting knowledge, give a Bible, we communicate an unthe knowledge of their Creator and doubted good. We give what is needRedeemer, of their duties and desti. ed by men of every age, character, nation. We furnish them with an rank, and condition. We circulate